|Stellenbosch and Surrounds|
The heart of South Africa´s wine industry, Stellenbosch is a place of great beauty and culture that´s steeped in South African tradition.
The Stellenbosch Wine Route is arguably the country´s most famous, and the Stellenbosch Wine of Origin area includes 106 cellars - most of which are open to the public. Enjoy a long day´s wine tasting, and wine buying and you´ll sip more than our great South African wines - you´ll taste our South African way of life.
Stellenbosch is the second oldest European settlement in the Western Cape Province, South Africa after Cape Town, and is situated about 50 kilometers (30 mi) away along the banks of the Eerste River. The town became known as the City of Oaks or Eikestad in Afrikaans due to the large number of oak trees that were planted by the founder to grace the streets and homesteads.
What to do in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch offers plenty charming shops, boutique shopping centres, jewellers, curio shops and other interesting businesses. Most shops are centrally situated between Merriman Avenue, Bird and Dorp Street. The best way to visit them is to do so on foot. Stellenbosch offers both modern and traditional shops as well as arts and crafts from the formal and informal sectors. Take home your favourite wines. Selected wine merchants in and around Stellenbosch offer delivery and export services to your door. You will also find charming country shops and farm stalls along the main routes to/from Stellenbosch.
Dining out in Stellenbosch
Dining out in Stellenbosch, Town of Oaks, is a special experience, whether al fresco under the oaks and the stars, or indoors in cosy, yet luxurious surroundings. From traditional Cape fare and European cuisine to the more exotic, there is something to tantalise the taste buds of even the most discerning diner. Visitors can try interesting-sounding dishes such as "waterblommetjie-bredie" (waterlily-stew!), Tant Maraai se Hoender-pie (Aunt Maraai's chicken pie), Cape medley - a combination of Cape Malay dishes including the above - and Bobotie (sweet-curry mince dish).
Winemaking in Stellenbosch
The Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek valleys form the Cape Winelands, the largest of the two main wine growing regions in South Africa. The South African wine industry produces about 1,000,000,000 litres of wine annually. Stellenbosch is the primary location for viticulture and viticulture research. Professor Perold was the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University. The Stellenbosch wine route, established in 1971 is world renowned and popular tourist destination.
HistoryThe town was founded in 1679 by the Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel, who named it after himself — Stellenbosch means "(van der) Stel's forest". It is situated on the banks of the Eerste River ("First River"), so named as it was the first new river he reached and followed when Jan van Riebeeck sent him from Cape Town on an expedition over the Cape Flats to explore the territory towards what is now known as Stellenbosch. The Dutch were skilled in hydraulic engineering and they devised a system of furrows to direct water from the Eerste River in the vicinity of Thibault Street through the town along van Riebeeck Street to Mill Street where a mill was erected. The town grew so quickly that it became an independent local authority in 1682 and the seat of a magistrate with jurisdiction over 25 000 square kilometres (9,700 sq mi) in 1685.
Soon after the first settlers arrived, especially the French Huguenots, grapes were planted in the fertile valleys around Stellenbosch and soon it became the centre of the South African wine industry. The first school had been opened in 1683 but education in the town began in earnest in 1859 with the opening of a seminary for the Dutch Reformed Church and a gymnasium which known as het Stellenbossche Gymnasium was established in 1866. In 1874 some higher classes became Victoria College and then in 1918 the University of Stellenbosch. The first mens hostel to be established in Stellenbosch was Wilgenhof. In 1909 an old boy of the school, Paul Roos, captain of the first team to be called the Springboks, was invited to become the sixth rector of the school. He remained rector till 1940. On his retirement the school's name was changed to Paul Roos Gymnasium.
In the early days of the Second Boer War (1899-1902) Stellenbosch was one of the British military bases, and was used as a 'remount' camp; and in consequence of officers who had not distinguished themselves at the front being sent back to it, the expression 'to be Stellenbosched' came into use; so much so, that in similar cases officers were spoken of as 'Stellenbosched' even if they were sent to some other place.